“‘Not by a military force, nor by power, but by my spirit,’ says Jehovah of armies.”—ZECH. 4:6.
SONG 40 To Whom Do We Belong?
1. What must baptized Christians continue to do?
ARE you baptized? If so, you have publicly expressed your faith in Jehovah and your willingness to serve with his organization. * Of course, your faith in Jehovah must continue to grow. And you need to keep building your confidence that Jehovah is using his organization today.
2-3. In what way does Jehovah direct his organization today? Give examples.
2 Today, Jehovah directs his organization in a way that reflects his personality, purpose, and standards. Let us consider three of Jehovah’s attributes that are reflected in his organization.
3 First, “God is not partial.” (Acts 10:34) Love moved Jehovah to give his Son as a “ransom for all.” (1 Tim. 2:6; John 3:16) Jehovah uses his people to preach the good news to all who will listen, thereby helping as many as possible to benefit from the ransom. Second, Jehovah is a God of order and peace. (1 Cor. 14:33, 40) Therefore, we should expect that his worshippers serve him as an orderly, peaceful group. Third, Jehovah is the “Grand Instructor.” (Isa. 30:20, 21) Thus, his organization focuses on teaching his inspired Word, both in the congregation and in the public ministry. How were those three aspects of Jehovah’s personality evident in the early Christian congregation? How are they manifest in modern times? And how can holy spirit help you as you serve with Jehovah’s organization today?
GOD IS NOT PARTIAL
4. As stated at Acts 1:8, what did Jesus command his followers to do, and what help would they receive?
4 In the first century. The message that Jesus preached offered hope to all mankind. (Luke 4:43) He commanded his followers to continue the work he started, to give a witness “to the most distant part of the earth.” (Read Acts 1:8.) Of course, they could not do this work in their own strength. They would need holy spirit—“the helper” that Jesus had promised them.—John 14:26; Zech. 4:6.
5-6. In what ways did holy spirit help Jesus’ followers?
5 Jesus’ followers received the holy spirit at Pentecost 33 C.E. With the help of that spirit, they immediately began to preach, and in a short time, thousands accepted the good news. (Acts 2:41; 4:4) When opposition arose, the disciples did not give in to fear but turned to God for help. They prayed: “Grant to your slaves to keep speaking your word with all boldness.” They were then filled with holy spirit and kept “speaking the word of God with boldness.”—Acts 4:18-20, 29, 31.
6 Jesus’ disciples faced other challenges too. For example, copies of the Scriptures were few. There were no study aids such as we have today. And the disciples had to preach to people who spoke many different languages. In spite of all those challenges, those zealous disciples did the seemingly impossible—within just a few decades, they had preached the good news “in all creation under heaven.”—Col. 1:6, 23.
7. More than 100 years ago, how did Jehovah’s servants know what God required of them, and how did they respond?
7 In modern times. Jehovah continues to direct and empower his people. The direction, of course, comes largely through God’s spirit-inspired Word. There we find a record of Jesus’ ministry and his command that his followers continue the work he started. (Matt. 28:19, 20) As far back as July 1881, this magazine could say: “We were not called, nor anointed to receive honor and amass wealth but to spend and be spent, and to preach the good news.” To Whom the Work Is Entrusted, a booklet published in 1919, stated: “The work appears stupendous, but it is the Lord’s, and in his strength we will perform it.” Yes, like the early Christians, these brothers courageously poured themselves into the work, confident that holy spirit would help them to preach to all sorts of people. We continue to have the same confidence today.
8-9. What methods has Jehovah’s organization used to further the preaching work?
8 Jehovah’s organization has used the best tools available to spread the good news. These tools have included printed publications, the “Photo-Drama of Creation,” phonographs, sound cars, radio broadcasts and, more recently, digital technology. God’s organization is also engaged in the greatest translation effort in history! Why? So that all sorts of people can hear the good news in their own language. Jehovah is impartial; he foretold that the good news would be declared “to every nation and tribe and tongue and people.” (Rev. 14:6, 7) He wants the Kingdom message to be available to all.
9 What about those who are hard to reach, perhaps because they live in high-security apartments? With a view to reaching more of these people, Jehovah’s organization was moved to consider various forms of public witnessing. For example, in 2001, the Governing Body approved the use of literature carts and other displays in France and later in other places as well. The results were positive. In 2011 a pilot program was started in the United States in one of the busiest parts of New York City. During the first year, 102,129 books and 68,911 magazines were placed. And 4,701 people asked for a Bible study! Clearly, holy spirit was backing this work. So the Governing Body approved the use of literature displays in the worldwide field.
10. What can we do to improve in our ministry?
10 What you can do. Take full advantage of the training Jehovah provides at Christian meetings. Work regularly with your field service group. There you can get personal help in areas where you may need it, as well as encouragement from the fine example of others. Endure in the ministry. As our theme text reminds us, we accomplish God’s will, not in our own power, but by holy spirit. (Zech. 4:6) After all, we are doing God’s work.
JEHOVAH IS A GOD OF ORDER AND PEACE
11. How did the first-century governing body work unitedly to maintain order among God’s people?
11 In the first century. The governing body in Jerusalem worked unitedly to maintain order and peace among God’s people. (Acts 2:42) For example, when the issue of circumcision came to a head about 49 C.E., the governing body, under the direction of holy spirit, considered the matter. If the congregation had remained divided over this issue, the preaching work would have been hindered. Even though they were Jewish, the apostles and older men were not influenced by Jewish tradition or by those strongly promoting it. Rather, they looked to God’s Word and spirit for guidance. (Acts 15:1, 2, 5-20, 28) The result? Jehovah blessed their decision, peace and unity prevailed, and the preaching work moved ahead.—Acts 15:30, 31; 16:4, 5.
12. What shows that order and peace exist in Jehovah’s organization today?
12 In modern times. Jehovah’s organization has worked to maintain order and peace among Jehovah’s people. As far back as 1895, Zion’s Watch Tower and Herald of Christ’s Presence of November 15 had an article entitled “Decently and in Order,” based on 1 Corinthians 14:40. The article stated: “The apostles had much to say to the early Church concerning order . . . It is safe to continue to heed very carefully ‘the things written aforetime for our admonition.’” (Rom. 15:4) Yes, the same desire for order and peace that marked the early Christians is evident in Jehovah’s organization today. To illustrate: If you were to attend a Watchtower Study in another congregation—even in another land—you would know how the study would be conducted and which article would be considered. Immediately, you would feel at home! What else but God’s spirit can account for this precious unity?—Zeph. 3:9, ftn.
13. With James 3:17 in mind, what questions should we ask ourselves?
13 What you can do. Jehovah wants his people to “maintain the oneness of the spirit in the uniting bond of peace.” (Eph. 4:1-3) So ask yourself: ‘Do I promote unity and peace in the congregation? Am I obedient to those taking the lead? Can others depend on me, especially if I have responsibilities in the congregation? Am I punctual, helpful, and eager to serve?’ (Read James 3:17.) If you see room for improvement, pray for holy spirit. The more you allow it to mold your personality and influence your actions, the more your brothers and sisters will love you and value you.
JEHOVAH EDUCATES US AND EQUIPS US
14. According to Colossians 1:9, 10, how did Jehovah educate his people in the first century?
14 In the first century. Jehovah takes great pleasure in educating his people. (Ps. 32:8) He wants them to know him, to love him, and to live forever as his beloved children. All of this would be impossible without the education he provides. (John 17:3) Jehovah used the first-century Christian congregation to educate his people. (Read Colossians 1:9, 10.) Holy spirit—the “helper” that Jesus had promised—played a major role. (John 14:16) It gave the disciples more insight into God’s Word, and it brought back to their mind the many things Jesus said and did, as later recorded in the Gospels. This knowledge strengthened the early Christians’ faith as well as their love for God, for his Son, and for one another.
15. In what ways have you seen Jehovah fulfill his promise found at Isaiah 2:2, 3?
15 In modern times. Jehovah foretold that “in the final part of the days,” people of all nations would flock to his figurative mountain to be instructed about his ways. (Read Isaiah 2:2, 3.) We are seeing that prophecy being fulfilled. True worship has been exalted far above all forms of unclean worship. And what a spiritual banquet Jehovah is providing! (Isa. 25:6) By means of “the faithful and discreet slave,” he is giving us not just an abundance but also an amazing variety, from articles and talks to digital animations and videos. (Matt. 24:45) We feel as did Job’s friend Elihu, who rightly said: “What instructor is like [God]?”—Job 36:22.
16. What can you do to grow spiritually?
16 What you can do. God’s spirit will help you to make practical application of what you read and study in God’s Word. Pray as did the psalmist: “Instruct me, O Jehovah, about your way. I will walk in your truth. Unify my heart to fear your name.” (Ps. 86:11) So continue to take in the spiritual food that Jehovah provides through his Word and his organization. Of course, your goal is not just to gain knowledge. You want to impress the truth on your heart and apply it in your life. Jehovah’s spirit can help you to do that. You also want to encourage your brothers and sisters. (Heb. 10:24, 25) Why? Because they are your spiritual family. Pray for God’s spirit to help you to give heartfelt comments at Christian meetings and to do your very best when you have a part on the program. In these ways you show Jehovah and his Son that you love their precious “sheep.”—John 21:15-17.
17. In what ways can you show that you faithfully support Jehovah’s organization?
17 Soon, the only organization left on earth will be the one led by God’s spirit. So zealously work with Jehovah’s organization. Reflect God’s impartial love for people by proclaiming the good news to all you meet. Imitate his love for order and peace by promoting unity in the congregation. And listen to your Grand Instructor by taking full advantage of the spiritual banquet he provides. Then as Satan’s world comes to its end, you will not be fearful. Instead, you will confidently stand among those who are loyally serving with Jehovah’s organization.
SONG 3 Our Strength, Our Hope, Our Confidence
^ par. 5 Are you convinced that Jehovah is directing his organization today? In this article, we will consider how Jehovah directed the early Christian congregation and how he continues to direct his people today.
^ par. 1 EXPRESSION EXPLAINED: Jehovah’s universal organization has a heavenly part and an earthly part. In this article, the word “organization” refers to the earthly part.
^ par. 52 PICTURE DESCRIPTION: After watching videos and seeing others who are serving in lands where the need is greater, a pioneer sister is motivated to follow their example. She eventually realizes her goal of serving in such territory.